Natural immunity is something we've all heard of, and want to know
more about. It's a major buzz-word of the health awareness
movement because it represents an alternative to chemotherapies,
radiation and surgery, vaccinations, hospital convalescence,
untreatable chronic fatigue or degenerative diseases, and a host
of other unpleasant, expensive options on today's medical
industrial menu. This essay will give basic parameters for
wellness through immune support, as well as a brief introduction
to three special modalities, namely nutritional supplements,
botanical medicine and hydrotherapy.
Get plenty of rest. Most people need 8 hours of sleep each day.
Make it a habit to get to bed 8 hours before your alarm clock is
set to go off. That way you'll at least be more or less
horizontal for the full 8 hours... In our culture most people
work, work, work, then maybe, if there's time, do a little play.
This is just not right. Think about how it would be to play an
hour for every hour you work. Maybe you'd have to give some of
that extra income that's going to pay off credit cards jammed with
possessions you may or may not still need or use... Maybe the
extra playtime would render you so efficient at your work, because
of added mental clarity and a light-hearted, healthy enthusiasm
for life, you'd actually earn more per hour and not lose income
all! Indoor play is fine, but outdoor play is excellent. Deeply
absorb the smell of a rising wind. Feast your eyes on a
mountain top panorama. Walk in forests. Remember Nature. Commune
with Her... Get lots of clean water -- 64 ounces daily. Carry
fresh water in your car and a smaller quantity in your purse or
day pack. Stay hydrated. If you feel thirsty, you're already
dehydrated. Drink lots of water especially when coming down with
a cold or infection. It is important to provide the body with
clear fluids to flush out the toxins. Dilute fresh vegetable
broth, herbal teas or juices are also excellent to ward off flus
or fatigue but they cannot replace pure clean water. While
Seattle tap water is relatively high quality it is chlorinated
may contain more than desirable levels of heavy metals and
microbes. Please consider using a water purification device.
Reverse osmosis or distillation under the boiling point are the
two best options. Also, please just say no to iced water. It
very hard on our stomach and in fact, sits there drawing in energy
until it's at body temperature. When you're eating out, remind
the waitperson before they bring your water. Another part of
healthy diet is to LIMIT SUGAR INTAKE to less than 50 grams per
day. The average American consumes 150 g/day of simple sugars,
and this does include fruit (fructose). Sugar inhibits white
blood cell function (which is cleaning up toxins in the blood)
50% for 2 to 5 hours after consumption. Sugar also competes with
Vitamin C to get inside the cells. That means that taking Vitamin
C doesn't help much if you're also taking sugar.
- Work balanced by Play
- Healthy Diet including plenty of Fresh Water.
Protect your natural defense system -- starting with the skin.
Keep the skin clean and intact as much as possible. Be kind to
your mucous membrane tube (mouth to anus), which is the interface
with the outside world. Remember that what you put into your
mouth turns into your body. Protect your lungs: don't smoke!
Protect your heart by eating a low-fat diet and getting adequate
cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking. Protect your
emotional and spiritual well-being by taking regular quiet time
for yourself, and expressing your needs, your ideas and your
By quirk of nomenclature we can actually refer here to the ABC's
of immune enhancement. Let's start with good old Vitamin C. C
a natural inhibitor of cellular destruction wreaked by foreign
antigens, from viruses to particles of undigested food. Vitamin
improves the ability of blood cells to engulf and excrete toxins.
The best way to take Vitamin C is in powdered form, which is
readily digested and then available for immediate use. Good
juiceable food sources of C are dandelion leaves, watercress,
nettles, alfalfa, cayenne (as seasoning), kelp, parsley,
raspberries, strawberries and papayas. Vitamin C is depleted by
antibiotics, aspirin and other pain relievers, coffee, cortisone,
smoking anything, stress, DDT, burns and high fevers. The B
vitamins help to reduce the load which stress puts on the body,
well as preserving the integrity of the nerves and nervous
responses, such as reflex actions. A lack of B vitamins has been
repeatedly shown to cause depressed immunity. Food sources of
complex include parsley, comfrey and red clover. Most other B
vitamins are also high in alfalfa. B 12 must be supplemented in
strict vegetarians. B vitamins are depleted by sleeping pills,
insecticides, estrogen (the "Pill"), sugar and alcohol.
A, which in it's precursor form is called "beta-carotene,"
increases the number of helper-T cells in the blood.
Bioflavonoids (which cause the coloration of yellow and orange
foods) are an example of beta-carotene and are found in chicory,
watercress, garlic, parsley, squash, oranges and yams. Vitamin
is depleted by fluorescent lights, mineral oil, coffee, alcohol,
all kinds of drugs, excessive intake of iron and lack of available
protein in the body. We don't need much protein -- 5 ounces daily
is plenty -- but we do need to be able to digest it. Which brings
up two "Z" supplements at the other end of the alphabet.
are ZINC, the trace mineral, an important co-factor in most
digestive enzymes, and (EN)ZYMES themselves, the delicate dynamos
which alone deserve volumes of discussion. If you eat more than
you need to in order to feel "satisfied," or ever notice
undigested food particles in your food, consider consulting with
natural health care physician for a good source of PLANT (not
My favorites in immune enhancement are a combination of Echinacea
angustifolia, Hydrastis canadensis (Golden Seal) and either Galium
aparine (Cleavers) if the congestion is in the head, lungs or
upper body, or Phytolacca (Poke Weed) if the congestion is in the
pelvis, gut or lower body. Echinacea is known to neutralize
viruses and activate the body's "natural killer" cells.
is very healing to mucous membranes, which, as stated above, means
the entire tube from mouth to anus. Galium promotes lymphatic
pumping and draining, particularly of the head, neck and armpit
nodes. Phytolacca stimulates the T and B blood cells crucial to
immune functioning. WARNING! Phytolacca is toxic at relatively
low doses, and may only be administered under the guidance of a
physician knowledgeable in plant medicine.
In the 1850s "hydropaths," or physicians and lay persons
in the use of water therapies, were the single largest group of
health care practitioners besides standard, blood-letting, mercury-
administering medical doctors. The water-cure movement, which
originated with Father Kneipp in Germany, enjoyed 50 plus years
of vogue in the U.S. with many well known advocates from writers
such as Edgar Allan Poe and Harriet Beecher Stowe, to famous 7th
Day Adventists and Abolitionists. One of the central tenets of
hydropathy was that the patients become responsible for their own
health care. The hydropath aspired to empower the patient with
recognition of their own wisdom. Cold water was considered the
universal elixir for disease... "God accomplishes his most
work through the simplest agencies."
Why water? Water is available readily almost everywhere and it
not in any way foreign to our system. Water has chemical, thermal
and mechanical properties. It is essentially nontoxic except
places where it doesn't belong. It is the universal solvent.
can hold heat or pull heat away from the body. Water can be
therapeutically applied in the form of bath, spray, whirlpool,
vaginal douche, colonic irrigation (also ear and nose lavage),
of course, beverage.
One of the tried and true standbys of Naturopathic Medicine is
use of "constitutional hydrotherapy" which employs alternating
and cold towels to an affected area of the body. For example,
chest cold will benefit enormously from applying first hot, then
ice-cold towels or compresses to the bared chest. The technique
calls for 3 minutes of hot followed by 30 seconds to 1 minute of
cold. This sequence is repeated at least three times, and always
ends with cold. The easiest, preventive, form of hydrotherapy
to chase your morning hot shower with all cold water for at least
30 seconds and make sure to thoroughly cool the armpits, genital
areas, head, hands and feet. These are centers of lymphatic
drainage. To embellish the treatment, firmly tap your upper
central chest just under the notch at the base of the throat, to
invigorate the thymus gland. This will actually keep you warmer
on a winter's day because of the circulatory stimulation. By the
same principle one can achieve excellent results in bringing down
a fever, especially in children, by applying frozen cold cotton
socks to the feet and covering them with dry wool socks. This
will stimulate circulation in the lower extremities by requiring
the feet to pull down heat, drawing it away from the head. Put
feverish kid to bed with this double sock routine and their sleep
is guaranteed to be more restful. Be creative! The basic idea
of alternating hot (3 minutes) with cold (30 seconds to 1 minute)
can work with sauna to cold plunge, 2 hip-bath tubs, running water
from 2 faucets on a sprained wrist or ankle, etc.
Experiment with these health tips. You know best what your body
really wants. The best way to distinguish a healthy craving from
an unhealthy one is how whatever you decided to ingest makes you
feel an hour later. Check it out...
One final observation in immune enhancement: Please don't let
other people run your life. Your friends and family may be
threatened when you start to make some changes for the better.
Food and health are highly emotional issues. Identify your
stressors, and get them down to a bare minimum. Let go of people
who can't support your total awakening. Make a commitment to
know thyself. And, best of all, stay light!
All anecdotally supplied, or from personal lecture notes, by Susan
Cayleff, Ph.D., Doug Lewis, N.D., Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., and Jeffrey
Zavik of Immuno Laboratories.
About The Author
A graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, she completed both the Naturopathic and Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine programs. Her preceptor work (similar to residencies) took place in Seattle, West Virginia and China, with emphasis on gynecology, counseling, herbal medicine and naturopathic manipulation...more